Monday, November 29, 2010

Giveaway: Love & Logic Magic for Early Childhood (closed)

I know I've been on a Love and Logic kick - I promise to stop soon. But since I believe in it so much, I am giving away one of their best selling books - Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years.

Here's a little about the book...

"Parenting little ones can be exhausting...until you discover Love and Logic. Take the exhaustion out and put the fun into parenting your little one. 

If you want help with:
  • Potty training 
  • Temper tantrums 
  • Bedtime 
  • Whining 
  • Time-out 
  • Hassle-free mornings 
  • and many other everyday challenges
Then this book is for you!

This book is the tool parents of little ones have been waiting for. America's Parenting Experts® Jim Fay and Charles Fay, Ph.D., help you start your child off on the right foot. 

The tools in Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood will give you the building blocks you need to create children who grow up to be responsible, successful teens and adults. And as a bonus you will enjoy every stage of your child's life and look forward to sharing a lifetime of joy with them."

There will be one lucky winner! So make sure to enter as many times as possible...

So here's what you need to do to enter to win...leave a comment. That's it. But, if you want to increase your chances of winning, for each of the following that you do (let me know in your comment what you've done) - your name will be entered again! This giveaway is open to anyone with a U.S. address and will be shipped directly from a book seller.

1 - Grab the button on the right sidebar and link my site up to yours

2 - Post about this giveaway on your blog

3 - Become a follower (see left sidebar)

4 - Post about this giveaway on your facebook status

5 - Become a fan of The Mom Blog on facebook

6 - Follow The Mom Blog on Twitter (barb_themomblog)

DO ALL 6, and let me know in your comment and your name will be automatically entered in 6 more times -- you'll be 6 times more likely to win!!

The giveaway will close next Monday the 6th at 9am - so start spreading the word!

{ Have a great business you'd like to promote through a giveaway on our site? Please contact me - barb.themomblog(at)gmail(dot)com }

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Love & Logic: Modeling Positive Attitudes & Behavior

I really love this clip - your attitude will affect your children, whether for good or bad...

Friday, November 26, 2010

G - Day

We started G Day with a snack of grapefruit and graham crackers. Weird combination - but yummy!

We then talked about guitars, played with my guitar, and then made Little Miss her own guitar out of a kleenex box and rubber bands, decorated with glue and glitter. Oh, fun, but so messy!

Did I mention fun and messy?! I was finding it everywhere for days! At least she had a good time! If you're going to attempt letting your little one apply the glitter themselves, remember to put a cookie sheet underneath them before hand - it sure made clean up a lot easier!

Then we read some books that started with the letter G - expect for 'The Monster at The End of This Book', but it stares Grover, so we counted it. I always just get books off of our shelf. But if you're looking at the are some titles you might want to check out...
  • G is for Goat
  • Goodnight, Gorilla
  • The Goose and the Golden Egg
  • Goliath - children's bible story version

Next we played a game of golf with a cousin. It didn't last too long cause the golf clubs started making contact with the TV...but this was good practice for their gross motor skills and taking turn abilities.

And of course, we finished by coloring a page about the letter G. You can print this out by clicking on it to make it bigger, and copying it into a word document - make sure your layout is set at horizontal.

Other G things to do or talk about...
  • gratitude
  • groundhog day
  • grandparents
  • grass
  • green beans
  • grape juice
  • goldfish
  • granola bar
  • grasshoppers

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Charlie Brown!!

Hope ya'll are eating yourselves silly like I am! Gotta love the classics...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Black Friday: Rules for Success

Really, this isn't my thing. I've always avoided Black Friday because, well, people are insane!! But, there was something last year that I just couldn't pass up - so my mom ventured out with me. 5am. It was interesting, not stressful, successful, and totally enjoyable. Here is how we made our black friday a joy and something we'd actually attempt again...
  1. Stake out your claims the night before - this will make getting in and out a breeze if you know where everything is.
  2. Act like a person, not a lion. 
  3. Expect the crowds and chaos, and try not to add to it. 
  4. Don't shove, yell, or trample. This only makes you look like an idiot - and really takes away from the Christmas spirit.
  5. Thank the store clerks and smile at them - they really don't want to be there.
  6. Go for fun - that way if you miss out on something, it's no big deal.
  7. End your shopping spree with a nice breakfast out and then a nap!

I'll be sleeping in this year - my pregnant body needs sleep, not shopping. Good luck to those of you who brave it!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gratitude, Not Entitlement

At least that's what I'm hoping to instill in my child. I want her to be grateful for everything - from having her basic needs met, to the snow outside her window. I want her to be grateful and say thank you when we give her something - anything! Even something we would give her no matter what - like food, shelter, etc.

Has anyone else noticed how kids are so entitled now? They expect to have cell phones, unlimited internet access, the newest gadgets/toys, their own room, a car when they get their license...what happened? When I was little everyone I knew shared a room! I didn't get a cell phone till I as 20, and I paid for it myself. And a car - paid for it myself.

Every parent loves their child and wants to give them the world - the problem is some do. How can you give your child good gifts and teach them gratitude?

Example for one. When a child sees their parents display gratitude regularly - it has to sink in. Show your spouse gratitude, thank him/her aloud, in front of the kids for things they would have done anyway. "Thank you for taking out the trash!", "Thanks for going to work to support us, I know it's a sacrifice!"...And more importantly - show your kids gratitude. "Thank you for that hug!", "Thank you for picking up your toys, that makes mommy happy!"

Self-Discipline. Maybe as parents if we show self-restraint when prone to indulging ourselves in the finer things, or whatever we want - and do so outwardly, vocally - then our kids will learn to do the same. "I really want some ice cream, but...we better not spend anymore money today. We have a brownie mix at home we can make instead"...

How are you teaching your child gratitude and not entitlement? Please share! Just something to think about this Thanksgiving Season.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Love & Logic Parenting: Ten Quick Tips

  1. First, lock in empathy (without sarcasm) when a child comes to you with a problem or before you deliver a consequence. "Bummer", "Oh, this is so sad" - Then their mistake, not you, is the bad guy.
  2. Set an example by taking care of yourself. That is, stop yourself before you show anger or frustration, yell, threaten, lecture, use sarcasm, criticize, blame, spank, etc. These are traps for parents, letting the child focus on our emotions rather than their bad decisions. Emulate the kind of behavior you want from them now and when they're adults. If you yell and hit - you can expect your child to do the same. If you are calm, loving, and responsible - your child will follow suit.
  3. Let experience and natural (logical) consequences do the teaching. Don't rob kids of experiences that teach. It is okay to let them be inconvenienced or uncomfortable without making them unsafe. The more mistakes they make when they're little, the better - as they get older mistakes will cost a lot more! Consequences get more serious.
  4. When little kids do something you don't like use the "Uh-Oh" Song. Follow it with loving action. Example: Child hits dog with toy hammer. Parent says "Uh-Oh, bedroom time". As the parent takes the child's hand and takes them down to room for thinking time. Saying Uh-Oh in a sing-song voice keeps the anger and frustration out of your voice. It will also become a trigger for the child to think about what just happened. Soon, all you'll have to do is say uh-oh and the child will stop what they're doing, think about what could be wrong, and change their behavior.
  5. When kids whine or argue use a "brain dead" statement by saying in a calm voice, "I know" or "What did I say?" This will stop you from getting roped into the argument and delivers empathy at the same time. Pretty soon the kid will give up and stop.
  6. When older kids have a problem lock in empathy and then say "What are you going to do about it?" If they say "I don't know" say "Would you like to hear what some kids try?"
  7. Use plenty of choices - "Do you want to wear the blue shirt or the red shirt?", to diffuse potential power struggles. "The car leaves in 5 minutes. Do you want to wear your coat or carry it?" Wait ten seconds. If the child doesn't choose, you choose for him. **This is almost all we have to do with Little Miss to keep things nice and happy. The trick is to make sure the two options you give are things you're okay with.
  8. Never tell a resistant kid what to do, tell them what you will do. This is the enforceable statement. "I will listen when your voice sounds as calm as mine", "I take kids to the park who have their chores finished by noon". Turn your words into gold. Talk less, take more action in loving ways. "Love you too much to argue." Follow up with loving actions.
  9. You may need to delay the consequence and come up with a strategic training session for problem behaviors that come up again and again. "When you lie to me, it really drains my energy. I'll have to do something about that, but not now, we'll talk later. Try not to worry". If kids are old enough to remember you promised them ice cream, they're old enough to learn from a delayed consequence.
  10. Make a plan for a training session and use spouse, friend, or relative to back you up. Restaurant behavior retraining might involve a neighbor on call who will take the child back home and babysit when the child acts out.And sadly, the babysitting won't be fun, and the child will have to pay for it himself with toys. 
Hope you enjoyed these little tidbits!! There is so much more to Love & Logic than just this. We'll be doing a Love & Logic giveaway next monday - don't miss it!

    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    Love & Logic Techniques for Toddlers

    Just finished my Love and Logic class - here's a little sampling of the Love and Logic techniques. I'll be posting more about what I learned in the coming weeks and we'll even be having a giveaway!! Have a great weekend!

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    I Love Flax Seed: A Super Food

    Whole Flax Seed and Ground Meal
    Ever tried flax seed? I'll give you three good reasons to add it to your diet...
    1. Fiber: 2 Tbsp of flax seed meal contain as much fiber as 1-1/2 cups cooked oatmeal, 4 grams. Super good for your digestive system, but don't over do it - you'll pay the consequences. 
    2. Lignans: flax seed contains high levels of lignans, a natural antioxidant. To get the lignans that are in 2 Tbsp of flax seed meal you'd need to eat about 30 cups of fresh broccoli.
    3. Omega 3's: one serving of flax seed meal contains 2400 milligrams of omega-3, which is essential for brain function/development, among other things. And if you're family is like mine, you don't eat a lot of fish - so flax seed is a great non-fishy alternative!
    I buy flax seed meal in the nutrition/organic section of my grocery store for about $4.99/lb and we throw it in everything! Cookies, breads, pancakes, waffles, muffins, cold or hot cereal, fruit smoothies, sauces...if you're just adding a couple teaspoons here and there it won't change your recipe or the flavor of what you're eating and you'll get all those great health benefits. I love my flax seed.

    We always put it in our green smoothies.

    And when your baby is about 8 months old you can start adding it to your homemade baby food. LOVE it!

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    What To Do With Leftover Halloween Candy

    For all the excitement that goes into trick-or-treating, there’s inevitably a mountain of candy left to rot outside of our kids’ mouths. If left until next year, the chocolate will look blotchy and weird, and the candy will have melted into their wrappers over the summer.

    There’s always the option of freezing the goods until the kids feel like eating it, but that also sounds like a ripe opportunity for your freezer to accumulate junk you’ll only forget about until you move to another house or apartment and realize that candy’s been in there for the better part of ten years.

    So, what earthly purpose can this candy serve past Halloween?
    1. You know what they say about lemons—make lemonade! If you’re stuck with bags of M&M's and Hershey’s Kisses, bake them into cookies or other desserts your kids, neighbors, family, and friends will gladly accept.
    2. Bring a bowl full of candy to work every Monday and place it in the break room.
    3. Similarly, bring a bowl full of candy to small, friendly gatherings, or use them as table centerpieces if you’re hosting.
    4. Use pretty candies—Kisses wrapped in gold and silver are great—on your Christmas tree if you celebrate. Just make sure the chocolates don’t melt under the lights!
    5. Chocolate candies are generally easier to get rid of than hard candy, so make a game of it—put it all in a large jar and have your kids, family, or coworkers guess how many pieces are in it. This doesn’t exactly solve what to do with the candy after the guesses have been made, but we’re getting to that...
    6. When you’re left with an armload of hard candies and have no intention of eating them yourself, make them into Christmas tree ornaments. Not only can you use these on your own tree but you can offer them to friends and family as cheap DIY gifts. Here's how...
    You’ll need an oven, a cookie sheet, metal cookie cutters, aluminum foil, vegetable spray, a straw, and thin, decorative ribbon for this project.

    First, separate the candy, since different types melt at different temperatures. For example, lollipops and hard Life Savers melt between 300 and 310 F, and caramels melt between 245 and 250 F.

    If you’re working with Life Savers, preheat the oven to 350 F so it melts faster. Line the cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray it down with vegetable spray. Place the cookie cutters on the sheet and fill them to the edges of each cookie cutter with single layers of candy. Put the cookie sheet in the oven for up to 7 minutes, checking regularly.

    Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and keep your hands off—it’s hot! Let it cool for a couple of minutes and make a hole with the straw at the top of each “ornament” (so the ribbon can slip through when it’s cooled and dried). When the cookie cutters are safe to touch, remove them from the candy ornaments. Pull the ribbon through, knot it, and cut it, so the ornaments can hang from Christmas trees.

    Have fun with your leftover candy!

    Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education and performs research surrounding online schools. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

    LOVE this recipe! I'm slightly a pie fanatic. I've made our thanksgiving pies since I was 11 and show a lot of self restraint when I limit myself to only 6 pies (which I have made when there were only 6 people in attendance). I love making them & I love eating them. I've even been known to give out a Pie of the Month gift for Christmas.

    So...needless to say I've tried my fair share of pies and this one...oh, this's up at the top of my list! SO good!! And so worth adding to your Thanksgiving menu. It screams harvest season!

    Sweet Potato Pecan Pie
    • 1 lb sweet potatoes, baked & peeled
    • 1/4 cup butter, softened
    • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp orange peel zest
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 egg
    • Graham Crust
    • Pecan Topping (see below)
    Beat hot sweet potatoes and butter until smooth. Add sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, orange zest, vanilla, nutmeg, salt, and egg. Mix well. Pour into crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Meanwhile prepare pecan topping (below).

    Remove from oven, reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Spoon pecan topping on pie. Bake 25 minutes longer or until set. Serve warm or cool*. Garnish with orange zest & cool whip. *I actually thought it was better the next day served straight from the fridge.

    Pecan Topping
    • 1 egg
    • 2 Tbsp dark corn syrup
    • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
    • 1 Tbsp melted butter
    • 1/2 tsp maple flavoring
    • 1 cup chopped pecans
    Beat first 5 ingredients together, then stir in pecans.

    {sidenote: I actually added everything to the batter except the egg and gave that a taste...SO good! All warm...I really think it could be served just like that as Warm Sweet Potato Pudding. I know I'd eat it!}

    Click here for last year's Thanksgiving Pie recipes!

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Purple Day

    For Purple Day we went with quality, not quantity. We did one of Little Miss's favorite things - painted our toenails purple. She loved that our toes matched.

    Then we baked homemade sugar cookies. Little Miss got to choose which cookie cutters to use, which also gave us an opportunity to go over shapes. After they cooled we decorated them with purple frosting and multi-colored sprinkles. Later that day we delivered some to neighbors and friends - which gave us an opportunity to talk about service.

    We also colored our usual purple page with as many different purple crayons as we could find.

    Other purple things to do:
    • Eat grapes, raisins, plums
    • Read Harold and The Purple Crayong by Crockett Johnson
    • Read The Purple Coat by Amy Hest
    • Drink Purple Cows - milk + grape juice mixed together
    • Finger paint with blue & red - let your child find out what happens when they mix!

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    What To Do When They Stop Napping...

    I have been blessed with a good napper. Well, I guess it wasn't always that way. But we worked hard, with a lot of consistency and sacrifice, to make it so. It's important for kids to get enough sleep since that's when all their growth - especially brain development, takes place. SUPER important for brain development!

    The University of Tucson conducted a study on 48 toddlers. They subjected the children to an artificial language and those children who napped within 4 to 8 hours of learning retained the information and were even picking up on speech patterns. While those who didn't nap - lost it all. {click here to read more about the study}

    Interesting, so the brain pretty much digests and retains information while sleeping. So, sleep is important. And furthermore, if you really want your child to retain something, expose them to it right before nap time. That's kind of cool. I'm going to start doing learning activities more often right before naps.

    Having said that...what do you do when your child outgrows nap time? My 2 1/2 yr old still takes 1-2 hour naps everyday...almost everyday. Sometimes she just isn't tired (probably due to a lack of physical activity - thanks a lot cold weather). But that's okay. We still try.

    Even if she doesn't seem tired we go through the routine and she gets tucked in. After about 30-45 minutes (you'll have to vary this depending on your child - mine will play in her bed and sing songs to herself...if she was screaming it probably wouldn't last that long) I will go in and ask her if she's just not tired. It's usually pretty obvious that she's not. So...we now have quiet time.

    The first day I did this I wasn't sure if it would work, I really didn't think it would. So, I kept a very upbeat, excited voice and announced - "You're not tired!? That's okay. You can have special quiet time!! Let's make your bed into a fun nest."

    So we arranged pillows, blankets, stuffed animals and made it super cozy. Then I gave her loads of books and said, "When you can't sleep - you get to have quiet time! You can read books to your animals. You can even have a sippy of water in your bed! (which is very special, she never gets to keep food/drinks in her bed with her) I'll be in the other room. Have fun!"

    And I walked out like everything was normal, leaving the door open. Keeping my fingers crossed I waited...and waited...she was so quiet I got a little worried. So I peaked around the corner and she was happily reading to her animals...

    Shocked and overjoyed! She was in there for at least an hour and half. It was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! I love quiet time. So that's what we do now on those off days.

    In fact, it's been such a hit - sometimes she'll have a good solid nap, I'll get her out of her bed and she'll ask if she can have quiet time...on those days it's like a special bonus - nap time + quiet pretty much rocks! I highly recommend it!

    She doesn't have to stay in her bed - just in her room. Lovely. This still gives me a break, which my sanity requires. And this still gives her some down time - which she needs.

    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    My Bum Book

    I have the worst memory. Always have. And to make matters worse - I now have what's known as "mom brain"...Every mom, or expectant mom, can attest - when you get pregnant you just get dumb. Making, having, and raising babies zaps your brain cells! Pretty soon you're fumbling over your own words and can't remember what you ate for breakfast. It's kind of ridiculous.

    I keep a daily journal, and that helps. I've been able to go back and read through my pregnancy with Little Miss and compare it to this pregnancy. One thing I wish I would've had though - this little beauty...

    It is adorable! It's just little and will easily fit in a diaper bag or purse. I'm super excited to use it with baby #2 come February! Keeping track of feedings, changings, and well check stats - all of these things make my left brain dance for joy! It even has a spot on every page for random notes - like first smile, first time he'll roll over. Sure wish I'd had this with Little Miss!

    You can get your own Bum Book here.

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Homemade Cream Cheese Spread

    I love cream cheese. I love the flavored spreads too - but I don't love how you pay $2+ for a tiny little tub of it. I'm one who likes a thick layer on my bagels - so those tubs don't last me very long. It occurred to me the other day...why don't I just make some!? So I did.

    I softened an 8 oz pkg of regular cream cheese, which I got on sale for $1. Then I blended in about 4oz of pureed strawberries and about 1/4 to 1/3 cup powdered sugar. That's it! It tasted almost exactly like what you buy in the store! And keeps in the fridge in a Tupperware forever. It also stays spreadable.

    Love it. I'm never buying it again. Now I just have to figure out how to do the "weird" ones (as my husband would say) vegetable and such.

    You could substitute any pureed fruit of your choice in the above recipe, just adjust the powdered sugar to your liking and depending on the tartness of the fruit. Have fun!

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Gestational Diabetes & The Dreaded Orange Drink

    I had my glucose screening (usually happens around week 28) the other week and once again, got to taste this yummy orange thing...blah! Sugar overload. Not a fan.

    So what is gestational diabetes anyway? And what does it mean to my pregnancy?

    If you're diagnosed with gestational diabetes it doesn't mean you had diabetes before getting pregnant - and it doesn't mean you'll have it after you give birth. But, it does mean you're more likely to get Type 2 Diabetes sometime in your life if you're not careful. Think of it as a great early warning sign! Most people don't get that luxury.

    G.D. (Gestational Diabetes) only affects 4% of pregnancies. It is usually caused by the hormones that help the baby develop via the placenta - these hormones sometimes block the woman's ability to produce enough insulin, thus resulting in unused glucose (glucose turned to energy) and built up sugar in the blood stream (hyperglycemia).

    Why is this a problem? Check this diagram out...

    ...yah. I don't want to give birth to a huge baby. That sounds really un-fun. Besides causing your baby to gain unnecessary weight - G.D. can also cause your baby to have breathing problems at birth, and possible damage to the shoulders while exiting.

    Babies whose bodies are making excess insulin in utero are also more likely to get Type 2 Diabetes as adults and are at a higher risk of being obese.

    One thing to remember - G.D. is not your fault, it just happens. But there are things we can do when diagnosed...
    • Follow a healthy meal plan
    • Avoid excess sugar
    • Daily exercise while pregnant
    As always - I'm not a doctor, so please talk to your doctor to get actual medical advice if you are diagnosed.

    Have you had Gestational Diabetes? How did it effect your pregnancy?

    {info from}

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Give Thanks

    Here are some fun activities to do with your kids this Thanksgiving season.
    • Write thank you notes to someone (family member, friend, teacher, etc) for something they have done. I usually try to dictate exactly what my 3-year old is saying so that the card sounds more personal. Then I have her sign her name and draw or color a picture on the front. You can find free printable cards online, or make your own by printing some Thanksgiving clipart.
    • What is Thanksgiving without the traditional handprint turkey? Trace your child’s hand, then let them draw a face, feet, and feathers.
    • Make a turkey headband to wear. Just attach a turkey head to the front of a strip of brown paper, and feathers to the back, and voila! (we were out of brown paper at our house, so we had to improvise)
    • Have your child write their own recipe for how to cook a turkey. It is hilarious the things they will say — especially if they’ve had experience cooking with you. For younger kids, have them dictate to you. You could also have them write how to make pumpkin pie. Please don’t follow these recipes…I’m pretty sure a turkey will not be fully cooked when heated at 200 degrees for 20 minutes.
    • Make a thankful turkey. After coloring a turkey body, trace your child’s foot on colored paper and cut out. Then have them write something they are thankful for on the feather and add it to the turkey’s tail. You can have them do as many feathers as you want, or have them add one each day. Or you could do this as a family activity and have everyone help make feathers. At the end, you’ll have a turkey full of things you are thankful for.
    • Make a book about the 1st Thanksgiving. I found a good one here.
    • Decorate a cornucopia. Use any medium you want to make this horn of plenty.You can find some templates here.
    • Make Thanksgiving snacks together. Some examples are cornbread, turkey sandwiches (use a turkey-shaped cookie cutter to make it a festive shape!), and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Here’s my favorite recipe for the aforementioned cookies:
      Mix 1 can pumpkin with 1 box spice cake mix powder. Then add 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips and you’re done. Really. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-13 minutes. Yummy and easy for kids to help make. 
    • And as the holiday gets closer, here’s how you can involve your kids with thanksgiving dinner:
      • Teach them how to set the table and discuss where each piece goes. Use play dishes or the real thing. Make it a matching game by tracing plates, cups and silverware onto a piece of paper, then having them place the correct item on its outline. Then when the big day arrives, let them set the table.
      • Make a pumpkin pie together.
      • Have them make place cards for Thanksgiving dinner. I found this idea using fingerprints at Family Fun. I only had big googly eyes, but I think they are kind of cute!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Marie is a stay at home mom of two adorable kiddos who keep her super busy! She has a dual degree in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education and continues to use her degree everyday of her mommy career!

    Marie is one of my good friends and someone I look up to very much as a mommy. She has tons of fun ideas for things to do with your kids - so keep an eye out for her future guest posts.

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Baby Signs: Early Childhood Education, Acquiring Sign Language

    One of the keys to surviving in a tilted economic system in which opportunities to achieve a decent standard of living will be limited is versatility – and the ability to communicate articulately in a variety of ways with the widest possible audience. This includes bilingual ability as well as the ability to communicate in non-verbal ways for the benefit of the disabled – primarily the deaf.

    At the same time, a growing shortage of qualified interpreters fluent in American Sign Language has led to more career opportunities – and if current trends continue, it's likely that skilled ASL interpreters will have little problem securing lucrative employment in a society where such a commodity is destined to be in short supply.

    Signing Before They Can Speak

    A great deal of research has clearly demonstrated that the early years – ages 2 to five – are the best time to educate children in different modes of communication and language. This goes beyond the spoken word (though it is an optimal time for children to learn a second language); many young children have an aptitude for signing as well.

    This is not as odd as you may think. As you know, many indigenous peoples around the world, including American Indian nations, have used sign language for centuries to facilitate communication with other tribes with whom they do not share a language. Some paleontologists and anthropologists theorize that Neanderthals – who apparently lacked the vocal mechanism to produce many spoken words – depended a great deal upon hand gestures to communicate.

    In fact, recent research suggests that sign language is innate. An article published in the Boulder Daily Camera in 2003 presented strong evidence that babies as young as six months old communicate with their hands:

    " 6 to 7 months, babies can remember a sign. At eight months, children
    can begin to imitate gestures and sign single words. By 24 months, children
    can sign compound words and full sentences. They say sign language reduces
    frustration in young children by giving them a means to express themselves
    before they know how to talk." (Glarion, 2003)

    The author also cites a study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development demonstrating that young children who are taught sign language at an early age actually develop better verbal skills as they get older. The ability to sign has also helped parents in communicating with autistic children; one parent reports that "using sign language allowed her to communicate with her [autistic] son and minimized his frustration...[he now] has an advanced vocabulary and excels in math, spelling and music" (Glarion, 2003).

    The Best Time To Start

    Not only does early childhood education in signing give pre-verbal youngsters a way to communicate, it can also strengthen the parent-child bond – in addition to giving children a solid foundation for learning a skill that will serve them well in the future. The evidence suggests that the best time to start learning ASL is before a child can even walk – and the implications for facilitating the parent-child relationship are amazing.

    Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas
    Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the network of Texas child care facilities belonging to the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose child care schools. Primrose Schools are located in 16 states throughout the U.S. and are dedicated to delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum throughout their preschools.

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    F - Day

    We started our F Day with Little Miss wearing a flower shirt and collecting fall leaves...and doing a fake smile for this picture. What is it with little kids and not knowing how to smile when you ask them? Silly.

    Then we read some books that start with the letter f - Froggy Learns to Swim, and Fun at Bathtime.
    Next Little Miss colored a page about the letter F. We've started putting all of her artwork in a binder - she LOVES it! My plan is to scan things in and then just save a few. It's working out great so far.

    While coloring we enjoyed some F snacks - fruit (five peaches - which we counted out together) and fishy crackers, which my little chef eventually mixed together and still ate.

    To end our F day we made a card for her father with a flamingo on it. She told me "The Flamingo says Whatev's" that's what I wrote on the inside of the it!

    Some other F activities we failed to take pictures of or didn't get around to doing...
    • Singing the Farmer in the Dell
    • Visiting a farm
    • Playing a fishing game with magnets, a pole, and string...
    • Tracing footprints
    • Singing Five Speckled Frogs
    • Playing with finger puppets
    • and visiting her auntie Carrie's cats - Fern & Frankie
    {Click image to enlarge for printing}

    Saturday, November 6, 2010

    It's a Habit, Sammy Rabbit!

    Ever wondered when or how to teach your child about the value of hard work and saving money? It was so much easier when everyone lived on a farm - children learned first hand the value of hard work and the immediate benefit of storing up for the winter. Now, as parents, we almost have to create situations for our kids to learn these values.

    Learning the value of saving money and not going into debt at a young age is so important nowadays - so many people are in over their heads trying to keep up with the Jones' & kids are increasingly more aware of what their friends have and they don't.

    The author of "It's a Habit, Sammy Rabbit" contacted me with some great information and books to use with Little Miss. The book is a nice easy read and definitely not over her head. The coloring book and stickers are of course a hit. As my husband says - "if toddlers ruled the world, our universal currency would be stickers". The audio CD is very fun too. Little Miss loves it - it's super dancy! And not annoying like most kid CD's are.

    So beyond paying our kids for chores (which I don't exactly agree with, but that's for another post)...these workbooks are a great resource to help our kids learn about the value of money and the importance of saving it. Although Little Miss enjoys the book, she's still a tad too young to "get it" completely. This would be great for kids age 5-7.

    Check out some more reviews here.

    See all the Sammy Rabbit workbooks here.

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